Former Capitals Forward And Current Blackhawks Scout Andrei Nikolishin Assesses Capitals’ First Round Draft Pick Ivan Miroshnichenko

Center Andrei Nikolishin played 11 seasons in the NHL, from 1994 to 2004. He began his North American hockey career with the Hartford Whalers before moving to the Washington Capitals, where he played from 1996 to 2002. Nikolishin ended his playing career with the Chicago Blackhawks in 2004 and became a scout for them in 2016, where he remains today.

Being a center during his playing career and a current scout who knows Russian hockey players very well, Nikolishin has a good knowledge base of Capitals 2022 first round pick Ivan Miroshnichenko. He provided his thoughts on “Miro” in a recent interview with Russian media outlet MatchTV.

Miroshnichenko, 18, is under contract in the KHL with Avangard until 2024, but that should have little-to-no impact on his overall development plans as far as the Capitals are concerned. The situation closely resembles that of Evgeny Kuznetsov, who had to wrap-up his KHL career before heading to the District.

“How long he will play in the KHL, no one cares,” said Nikolishin. “No one was going to bring Ivan to Washington right now. The illness took him back a little. To put it simply, the guy was battling cancer. But now Miroshnichenko has completely recovered, passed all the tests. Really, in full combat readiness.”

However, exactly when Miro returns to play for Avangard is still not known, and Nikolishin believes there is still development needed at the VHL and the KHL levels.

“It’s hard to say, while he only spent one year in the VHL. And then, I think that he was too early there. Miroshnichenko should have continued to play in the MHL, where he would have received more playing time, and his role in the team would have been different. It would develop better.”

Finally, Nikolishin provided his player scouting report for Miroshnichenko.

“Miroshnichenko is big and powerful beyond his years. This is a power forward with a crazy shot, who is very good at navigating around the net – he finds the puck and shoots from any position. Plus hardworking, efficient. There are, of course, flaws in skating and balance. But these are particulars, there are many more advantages. He had already adapted to the VHL, after the New Year, before his illness, he began to play in the leading teams.”

Miroshnichenko and the other Capitals draft selections are now in northern Virginia for next week’s Capitals development camp, which runs from Monday through Thursday at MedStar Capitals Iceplex. Players will then participate in a scrimmage at Capitals One Arena on Friday night. Both venues are free and open to the public.

By Jon Sorensen

About Jon Sorensen

Jon has been a Caps fan since day one, attending his first game at the Capital Centre in 1974. His interest in the Caps has grown over the decades and included time as a season ticket holder. He has been a journalist covering the team for 10+ years, primarily focusing on analysis, analytics and prospect development.
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12 Responses to Former Capitals Forward And Current Blackhawks Scout Andrei Nikolishin Assesses Capitals’ First Round Draft Pick Ivan Miroshnichenko

  1. Anonymous says:

    I expect Miro in DC 2024.. after his contract is up.. thatll give him 2 years of mentorship under OV and OV can hand off the role of 1L winger/ no.1 PP to Miro as he exits into retirement at 40-41 etc.. assuming he does exit after the contract and has the 900 goals and record etc..

    • Jon Sorensen says:

      I might add another year for Hershey, unless he becomes a superstar in the KHL by age 22.

      • Mike J says:

        I guess ideally but given we’ll be rebuilding or close to it by then, might be a spot for him on the big club after the KHL. Maybe the benefit of him spending time with OV would outweigh top line AHL duties. Guess we’ll have to see where he’s at when he crosses the pond but I wouldn’t be surprised if he skips the AHL based on his size.

      • redLitYogi says:

        Kuznetsov actually re-upped with his KHL team for two more years, didn’t he? When GMGM was dismissed, he was still sore about that fact, felt that Kuznetsov had misled him. What I wonder is if Kuznetsov might not have been well served to play a few months in Hershey because he was getting very little ice time on the Caps for several months.

  2. novafyre says:

    My concerns are lack of English and our smaller rink which does affect systems and strategies. I’ll go midway and say if he learns English, listens to what our coaches tell him, and has the right attitude, a start in Hershey but a move to the Caps mid year. Lack of English, struggles to adapt to the smaller rink, homesickness, or a Sammy attitude and it will take longer.

    Those who come over earlier have time to learn the language, adapt to the culture, food, etc., and learn how to better play on our ice. Those who stay in Europe, and especially Russia, lose that learning period.

    Of course, not sure what his Russian military obligations will be.

    • steven says:

      Totally agree s all you have to do is look at Sammy to see how bad things go when players do it their way!

      • Jon Sorensen says:

        Ah, you struck a nerve with me – Sammy’s lack of English after 4 years in the US. He still needs an interpreter? I get it, he only hangs around the Russians, speaking Russians, but it has to hamper communications between goalie coach, players and other coaches. Hopefully he’s working on it. I see he stayed in US this summer (so far).

      • redLitYogi says:

        Well, Kuznetsov did it his way and deserved to win the Conn Smythe in ’18. People are who they are. Miro will be Miro and he is compared to Tarasenko. That would be some serious sniping ability. I expect several of our skill pool to be playing significant roles by then (Lapierre, McMichael, Zen-Salad or whatever that Swede/Russian’s name is, Persson, maybe Magnusson and who knows who else).

  3. steven says:

    Why does it seem that all ex Caps players scout, coach or train with or for other teams? Is there something happening internally that none of the players who play here want to return after their playig days? Is it the owner, the Gm or the climate in the lockerroom or organization as a whole? You would think that out of all the players who ahve been in washington atleast a few of them would be scouts, coaches ot have other positions with the team. Maybe that is what is wrong with this organization… connection to the past therefore keep making the same mistakes.

    • novafyre says:

      Godzilla was one of those remote hires on the Caps’ staff until he bought that team in Wash St. I thought I had read about an ex-Cap being one of our scouts in Europe but can’t recall details so could be wrong.

      Caps Captain when Ovi arrived, Jeff Halpern, is behind the bench in Tampa, but that’s not what you are wanting to hear. But whenever I see him there I do think thoughts like you are.

    • Rob says:

      According to the staff page there are several former Capitals in the scouting department including Olie Kolzig, Matt Bradley, Brooks Orpik, Brian Sutherby and Alan Haworth. Also, Peter Bondra is the director of business development.

  4. Mike says:

    VHL = Russian AHL, MHL is their top Junior league.

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